At what age did you begin learning Argentine tango?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by jantango, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Active Member

    Someone came to a place with the highest numbers and concentration of the best and managed to encounter the worst.
    Things happen.
    pygmalion likes this.
  2. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    So really this was just another propaganda thread? And what exactly is your definition of choreography?
    Mladenac likes this.
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hmm. I've come to admire the conviction and self-consistency.*shrug*
    Mladenac likes this.
  4. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    And some are fabulous in one respect and horrid in another. Just like performance dancers, really (although members of these two categories roughly tend to lack in different respects, of course, due to the different evolutionary pressure).
  5. NZ_Guy

    NZ_Guy Member

    Started tango when I was 27. What I knew of tango before I started, was not inaccurate, but I didn't hold any expectations on what if anything it could offer me. So if I knew then, the rest of what I know now, it wouldn't have changed the fact that at that time I was going to try tango and salsa (I dropped salsa after a year of appraisal).

    I have no advice to offer anyone starting tango, unless I know, and can relate to their motives to learn.
  6. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    I was 29 when I started. At 30, I realized that what I was being taught wasn't what I was trying to achieve. That's what I argue for when I participate in AT arguments on this forum. I'm now 31.

    Advice to a newbie:
    1. Know why you want to dance tango. Is it for physical fitness/lose weight? To find a boyfriend/girlfriend? To socialize? To dance? Because you saw it on So You Think You Can Dance? A combination of the above?

    2. Once you know why, and one of the top reasons is to dance, then go to a milonga and simply watch them dance. Is this something you would like to do? You may end up being asked to dance, which may not be a bad thing!

    3. Listen to the music. Do you enjoy it? Probably not. The first CD I bought, Buenos Aires by Night, was several years ago. I didn't like it and completely forgot about it until a year after I started learning tango. Only then, after having heard many tangos, did I start to understand what was going on in the music and then I started enjoying it. (I originally bought it because it was recommended on an online blog about tango as the best introduction to tango. I don't remember which blog it was but I thought I had wasted my money. The music was terrible! I've since had a drastic change of heart.:) )

    4. You'll likely never find a good teacher who will teach you what you need to know. So go back to a milonga and watch them dance again. Maybe you'll be asked to dance? Or not. But strike up a conversation with both the men and women and ask them their opinions about tango. Talk to both the dancers that you think are good, and the dancers who aren't. Pay careful attention to what they say because they will likely tell you what you need to know.

    5. Don't take classes. If the principle reason why you want to learn tango is to dance, then taking classes won't get you there. Classes are a good way to meet people who may have similar interests, but they generally aren't very good at teaching you skills you'll need on a dance floor.

    6. If you decide on taking classes, then ask the teacher this question before you hand him/her your money: Do you teach stage tango or social tango in your class? If s/he says both, keep your money. You'll be saving both your money and time.
    jantango likes this.
  7. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    My advice to a newbie would be don't rely on other newbies for advice. ;)
  8. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    • Please adhere to the guidelines.
    I'm probably a better dancer than you. My advice is the go with the advice of the better and more experienced dancer. This is something that can be easily seen because your eyes will tell you.

    Certain people seem to think that how long you do something directly results in being good at it. I'm not one of them.
    jantango likes this.
  9. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    You may be: but you can't possibly know. But with a whole year behind you since you saw the light, you must, by now, have had the opportunity to hear a significant proportion of the central musical repertoire of tango for the very first time. How are you enjoying the experience? :rolleyes:
  10. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    "5. Don't take classes."

    Uhm -- take classes. It already takes you 40 years or more to learn it if you do (a pet peeve of mine is followers who really can't be bothered to take classes that would solve a lot of their problems).

    Just make sure that
    1) you take classes from people you see at the milongas (and see behave properly at the milonga)
    2) you take classes that teach you how to hold your partner, how to communicate with him or her, how to assemble tiny fragments in a coherent whole, and how to break your habits and let the music drive you. If the teachers teach sequences, sequences, sequences and you don't feel there's a greater purpose to them (many good teachers who are faced with a sequence-addicted crowd will teach a simple suequence but know exqctly what they want to achieve teaching people, and it's not the sequence), walk away (you have to practice walking anyway, and then's a good moment to start).
    3) go to milongas. You have to walk your miles, and the proof of the pudding is...
    Subliminal likes this.
  11. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    You have zero information about that, so the only thing that's probable is that you're overestimating your accuracy when uttering statements like that.

    Ah. I see. And of course, experience isn't counted in years, and it'll all be "obvious".

    Your eyes tell you zilch (especially if you're not yet experienced enough to see the little details that count and send shivers through others' spines and elicit little cries of 'eso!').

    Ask the partner who's just danced a tanda with them. _They'll_ know.
  12. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    Yes, I was waiting for someone to say that! But usually, you can just tell by the expression on their face.
  13. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    It's hard to say. I wasted precious time learning unimportant things and not learning essential things and if I were to start _now_ I could learn what I have learned in 5 years instead of 20, but back then the teachers that are available now and 'grok' it weren't there, so in those years I would've been hard pressed to find a better path.

    Except:

    -don't linger too much in classes with your first teacher. Even if you're having fun.
    -go to milongas. A lot. If you see someone whose dance you like, ask where they've been taught.
    Mladenac likes this.
  14. Yogur griego

    Yogur griego Member

    Sixela, this is another example of the same thing happening. It's not directly your fault, so this is not an ad hominem attack from my side either. I am not looking for a fight, I am just observing the behaviour of some people here, which is rather interesting.

    So, there's a guy who posts a rather questionable advice, and with only two years of experience - ok, big deal, but I do not understand why these things need to lead to a completely off-topic immature argument by various persons.

    Let us just respect each other, because what we're getting is the same chain reaction every time.
    Mladenac likes this.
  15. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    Lkso. LOL!
  16. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    We're doing fine; I don't think LKSO is running away in tears.

    Forgot one thing I'd do differently (in another attempt to get back on topic and answer jantango's question):

    -become a tango DJ earlier.

    But to be honest, that was also a lot harder in even the latter part of the 1990s (let alone the start of the 1990s): the breadth of the tango music offering wasn't the same, and the quality of the recordings was often poor (and if it's too poor it'll ruin even a superb rendition). Now that's completely changed.
  17. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    Actually, no Lkso posts some pretty idiotic stuff and it needs calling out. Saying someone has said something nonsensical is not an ad hominem attack, saying that t
    *They* are stupid is. If a claim is absurd, there is no point in thinking up a long and involved courteous counter, it's a wate of everybody's time. Call a spade a spade.
  18. LKSO

    LKSO Active Member

    So.... on a qualitative level, how is my advice any different than yours? You said essentially the same thing I suggested only in different ways. You suggest to ask others where they learned; I suggest to talk to people and they'll tell you the answers. You suggest taking classes on how to hold your partner, etc. and I suggest going to a milonga and observing. You suggest going to milongas; I suggested the same thing. Twice.
    jantango likes this.
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    When my big brother was in his twenties, he decided to study guitar. When he had been studying maybe a year or two, he went out to a local bar to see a concert -- George Benson, the world famous jazz guitarist.(This was probably forty years ago, when George Benson was still playing in bars and other small venues.)

    Anyway. So my brother sat down at the bar while he was waiting for the concert to begin. He and another patron struck up a conversation about music and guitar especially. My brother bragged and talked authoritatively about all he was learning -- which was a lot for a guy who'd only been playing for less than two years. My brother went on and on.

    Then the emcee said, "Ladies and gentlemen ... please join me in welcoming ... George Benson!" And the guy sitting next to my brother got up, walked to the stage and started to play.

    True story. I think that, when you're young and/or learning something new, it's easy to be arrogant. Eh. Many of us have been "young and full of ourselves." (Who used that phrase yesterday? I'm borrowing it. :cool: ) The trick is, IMHO, to try to retain enough humility to allow yourself to be taught. It's impossible to learn what you think you already know.

    My $0.02.
    DerekWeb and sixela like this.
  20. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    You said "don't take classes" and I said "take classes, but not just any classes and always question whether they're any good". Classes aren't bad, and in fact, they're _necessary_ to become proficient enough to dance at milongas (and to correct ingrained errors that you pick up by just dancing at milongas that make you a worse dancer for your partner than you might be).

    If you substitute "classes that _just_ teach you long sequences" for the word "classes" in "don't take classes", we are in violent agreement. Mind you, I don't think sequences used in classes are evil incarnate, they just are if that's _all_ you pick up from classes.
    Subliminal likes this.

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